Storage Soup

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» VIEW ALL POSTS Jun 10 2011   1:30PM GMT

Best of need vs. best of breed



Posted by: Randy Kerns
Tags:
storage buying decisions

I was recently teaching a class on storage technology and systems to a group of IT professionals. I’m always interested in finding out what they know about storage products and what they hear about the market.

I discussed with the class a story I recently read about an IT director commenting that he was interested in “best of need” products rather than “best of breed.” His argument was that he wanted a product that fit his requirements and only those requirements. A best of breed product probably had more capabilities than he needed, probably with extra costs. The comment was “why pay more for something I don’t need.”

The other IT people in the class echoed the sentiment and added one more important point. Storage systems have a limited lifespan of four or five years, and in that limited time they may not get to the point of deriving value from those best of breed capabilities. The sentiment was to buy only what you need.

The implications here are significant. Vendors marketing best of breed solutions may be missing the mark with some customers. There is the implicit assumption by customers that a product represented as best of breed will cost more. The other implication is that customers will buy a product with capabilities they may not need because of potential future requirements. But this may not be the case either because of the limited lifespan of storage in the data center.

Understanding customers’ needs and marketing to meet those needs may be a better approach by vendors. They should also highlight how and why a particular product can excel in that environment. Other important considerations for the customer should be addressed as well – such as reliability and support.

The IT professionals I work with continue to impress me. They sort through the messages and focus on their business and what it takes to meet their requirements.

(Randy Kerns is Senior Strategist at Evaluator Group, an IT analyst firm).

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  • S100bus
    "The sentiment was to buy only what you need." true as a starting point. My company is doing virtualization using vmware 4.11 essentials plus. We need SAN but my experience with SANs and tech support is less than good. The EMC Clariion we got from an EMC dealer lost 4 drives due to it being misconfigured. EMC sent a new SAN out to replace it. My second SAN, a fujitsu works but took 5 hours to attach to an already setup rack with servers and swtiches. My rule is I don't buy any SAN without getting it for a 30 day eval and I have to set it up.. Jacob
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